I do not really intend for this to be a full review of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. There are already many detailed such things, the internet doesn’t need another.
But I will mention a few of my thoughts and opinions about the product.
I like it! A lot.
To be a little more informative I will add my thoughts upon the differences (in my opinion) between Black and White images and color.
To simplify my position (perhaps oversimplify , and more with regard to landscapes than people) I think color images can be beautiful and stunning. A color image can amaze and entertain. But a mono image can be all those things, plus moody and mysterious. They can be oppressive and menacing.
In short they have an emotional resonance that I don’t find in color images.
Also, from a practical point of view a mono image can be more forgiving than a color image. A shot that looks terrible in color may well look far superior in mono.
So with these considerations in mind, where does Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 come in?
On a simple level you probably can achieve much of what Nik does through Photoshop, at least that was what I originally thought. I am not so sure anymore, there are a lot of options available for your image that Photoshop simply doesn’t have. At least Elements 11 doesn’t have them.
Being able to replicate film types is one such option, and one I have largely ignored. But at some point I will have a play with them.
Far more interesting (to me anyway) is the option to tint the picture through the split tones function. Being able to add a very slight hue to a picture can be the thing to make that image sing. Metaphorically speaking.
I have been posting up a series of images of “creepy woods”, although I should have exercised more forethought and gone with “Dark Woods” as a working theme, and not all of the images are creepy, but they are all a bit dark.
Why do I bring this up now?
Because I think the following comparison between what I can do through Elements and what I can do through Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 will perhaps show what I am trying to explain.
A word about the photo itself, I make no claims as to its quality. I was trying to be creative at the time, the sun was very low and I was attempting to get the mist back-lit. In order to block out the sun I stood with that tree between me and that sun. Which left a big huge distracting tree in the way.
You live and learn. Ho Hum.
But that aside.
Courtesy of Elements.
Courtesy of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
I like them both, but for me the mono version has a certain something that the color version lacks. Maybe it is just that without color my imagination is more free to fill its own details in? Certainly the Nik version is more likely to have a werewolf just off camera than the color image.
Or maybe that’s just me.
So to conclude.
Given the fact that we have a £130 / $200 plug in, which is expensive (especially in these troubles times) and that to a certain extent can be replicated via the software you probably already have…is it worth it?
That question will of course be needed to be answered by you. For me?
The added functionality over and above Photoshop is great, the ease to get the effect you desire is also great.
So, would I buy it?
I did! I purchased my copy just the other day (a birthday treat to myself).
One site I will mention/plug was Ronmartblog.com .
Loads of reviews and genuine discount codes (saved me 15% of rrp!).
As always thoughts and comments are welcome.